"Why Conservatives Suck"
Michael R. Burch
"recovering Fundamentalist and Reagan Republican"
The picture above is of the battleship USS New Jersey shelling Lebanon with the largest
guns afloat, hurling gigantic shells that have been described as "flying Volkswagens"
at mostly defenseless human targets. This was a blatant act of open but undeclared war in 1983, nearly 20 years
before 9-11. The gullible American public was reassured that this was a
"peace-keeping" mission, but of course that was pure propaganda. As the saying
goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and the picture above speaks volumes.
(What if we were on the receiving end?) In reality, the US had
abandoned any semblance of neutrality and was instead providing massive military
support of Israel's big, bloody, botched invasion of Lebanon. Israel and the US
were seen as siding with, and propping up, the Christian minority that dominated
the "official" Lebanese government and armed forces. This understandably did not
sit well with the Muslim majority, and when the US started blowing things up,
the opposition responded with car-bombings and other guerilla tactics. While
Israel and the US ended up retreating without achieving any of their
desired aims, their destruction of Beirut and much of Lebanon would eventually lead to
9-11, as I will explain in short order ...
While the guns are impressive, the results should give us pause ... especially
because the destroyed towers of Beirut are closely related to what happened to
the Twin Towers ... here is Beirut after Israel and the US did a little
Is this how Americans want the world to see them, as merchants of death and
The New Jersey is the only American battleship to shell Vietnam and Lebanon,
two much smaller nations that had never done anything to harm Americans in their
hemisphere. The New Jersey's biggest, baddest guns can fire 2,700 pound shells a
remarkable 23 miles. (Those are impressive statistics, unless you happen to be a
woman or child on the receiving end.)
I'm reminded of Muhammad Ali saying that he refused to fight in Vietnam because
no one there had ever harmed him, or called him "nigger." What did anyone in
Lebanon ever do to me, to cause me to want such destruction to fall on them?
This is certainly not what I want my government doing with my
tax dollars ...
Middle Eastern terrorists did not "start" a new war with the US on September 11, 2001,
because the US
had openly declared war two decades earlier, when it shelled and killed Lebanese civilians.
You can easily confirm this declaration of war by
referring to Ronald Reagan's private diary, which has since been published. As
Reagan gave the US Sixth Fleet orders to shell Lebanon, in a
diary entry eerily dated September 11, 1983, he said: "This could be seen
as putting us in the war ... I've ordered the use of naval gunfire."
We have clear confirmation of those orders, because the New Jersey was alerted
for immediate, high-speed deployment from Central America to the Eastern
Mediterranean at precisely that time. Other warships were already in the area,
but Reagan obviously wanted to bring in the really big guns.
The year before, under the military command of future prime minister Ariel Sharon, Israel and its
Lebanese Christian militias had massacred 750 to 3,500 civilians in Beirut's Sabra
and Shatila refugee camps. Israel's own Kahan Commission found Ariel Sharon
personally responsible. A UN commission headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Sean McBride found Israel
guilty of crimes of aggression contrary to international law. If the US was trying to promote peace back then, why was it
shelling the defenders, rather than repelling the invaders, who were guilty of
large-scale murders of civilian noncombatants, most of them poverty-stricken
refugees whose land had been taken from them by force of arms? And if the US is
really interested in peace today, why does it keep providing billions of dollars
in cash and advanced weapons to a nation, Israel, whose prime ministers have
included terrorists and mass murderers like Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and
Ariel Sharon? (If you have any doubts, please refer to my article
Ministers who were Terrorists.)
It has been estimated that as many as 8,000 civilians died during Israel's
invasion of Lebanon, which destroyed large areas of Beirut, including
shopping centers and apartment buildings. Marine commander Colonel James M. Mead
was dismayed at the level of destruction he saw in the city, describing it as
being “like pictures I’ve seen of Berlin at the end of World War II.” The Beirut
newspaper An Nahar reported that 5,515 people, both military and
civilian, were killed in the Beirut area alone, while 2,513 civilians were
killed outside Beirut. How many of those civilians were killed by US military
actions? No one knows, but it goes without saying that firing hundreds of shells
in the vicinity of a major city like Beirut and its suburbs is bound to result
in civilian deaths, not "peace."
In any case, on September 25, 1983, the New Jersey arrived off the cost of Lebanon
with her massive guns. She would eventually fire them hundreds of times in the
heaviest naval bombardment since the Korean War. Before she arrived, the USS Virginia,
USS Bowen, USS Arthur Radford and USS John
Rogers had already hurled hundreds of shells at Lebanon. French
Super Entendards and Crusaders had launched aerial bombings. British and Italian
military forces were also involved in various military activities in Lebanon
from 1982 to 1984. Elite commandos were employed, such as Navy Seals and French
Here is a quick two-week chronology of the events that preceded the car-bombing
attack that resulted in the deaths of 241 American marines:
9/11/1983: The battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) was alerted for rapid deployment to the
9/12/1983: The USS New Jersey refueled in Colon, Panama, then began a high-speed run
east, averaging 25 knots per hour.
9/12/1983: A Marine Amphibious Unit arrived off Lebanon and assumed a standby
9/16/1983: The destroyer USS John Rodgers (DD-983) and frigate USS Bowen fired
five-inch shells into Syrian-controlled parts of Lebanon.
9/19/1983: The USS John Rodgers and USS Virginia (CGN-38) fired 338 five-inch shells
at the Shouf Mountain village of Suq al Gharb.
9/20/1983: The USS John Rodgers and USS Virginia fired more shells.
9/21/1983: The USS John Rodgers and USS Arthur Radford (DD-968) fired more shells.
9/23/1983: The USS Virginia employed 155mm artillery fire and five-inch gunfire;
French planes struck the Bekaa Valley.
9/25/1983: USS New Jersey arrived off the Lebanese coast.
9/26/1983: There was an immediate cease-fire, but the outgunned insurgents would
soon resort to unconventional methods.
Reagan's note dated 9-11 in his diary about issuing orders to employ naval
gunfire is confirmed by the two-week chronology above. At the time it seemed the big guns of
the New Jersey might win the day, but that hope soon proved illusory.
The car-bombing attacks that killed 241 American marines and 58 French
paratroopers came more than a month after
the Sixth Fleet shellings began, and were obviously in retaliation
for the shellings, as the
Marine commander himself admitted (in quotes that follow shortly). So who started the
War on Terror, with the first acts of large-scale terrorism? Ronald Reagan, on
that much earlier 9-11.
Later in 1983, the aircraft carriers USS Kennedy and USS Independence launched
missile and air strikes against Lebanon. The navy lost two F-14 fighters during
the bombing raids. One pilot, Robert Goodman, was taken prisoner. (His release
was later arranged after negotiations which included the Rev. Jesse Jackson.)
US involvement in the war was covered by major American news services: for
instance, TIME Magazine ("Lebanon: Peace Keeping Gets Tough," September
19, 1993, by William E. Smith, William Stewart and Roberto Suro). The TIME
article states: "When he
telephoned Colonel Timothy Geraghty, the U.S. Marine commander in Beirut, last
week, President Reagan promised to provide 'whatever it takes' to stop the
shelling of the Marine positions. The problem is that, as the factional strife
in Lebanon grows ever more complicated nobody knows exactly what that promise
In retrospect, it seems Reagan's promise entailed starting a war that still
rages to this day. In his autobiography Man in the Shadows, Efraim Halevy, a former
director of Israel's Mossad, said that in his opinion World War III is already
in progress. "Beirut was the first major attack in what has now become World War
III," observed Bob Jordan, the founder of Beirut Veterans of America.
Colonel Geraghty later said that the Marine and the French headquarters were
targeted because of "who we were and what we represented." He also said, "It is
noteworthy that the United States provided direct naval gunfire support—which
I strongly opposed—for a week to the Lebanese
Army at a mountain village called Suq-al-Garb on September 19 and that the
French conducted an air strike on September 23 in the Bekaa Valley. American
support removed any lingering doubts of our neutrality and I stated to
my staff at the time that we were going to pay in blood for this decision."
Someone else also strongly opposed American entry into the war, and its
killing of civilians. Osama Bin Laden would later state that when he saw the
results of the US shelling of Lebanon: "God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the
towers. But after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice
and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and
Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that
of 1982 and the events that followed—when America allowed the Israelis to invade
Lebanon, helped by the US Sixth Fleet. In those difficult moments, many emotions
came over me that are hard to describe, but that produced an overwhelming
desire to reject injustice and a strong determination to punish the unjust. As
I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the
unjust the same way and to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of
what we are tasting and stop killing our children and women."
I was a Reagan Republican who watched the decline and fall of the GOP with shock, horror, revulsion and dismay. Contemplating what went wrong,
and why, led me to an almost inevitable conclusion: conservatives suck. The
reason is simple: the nature of conservatives is to conserve, to keep things the
same. But the world at present is far from perfect, which means change in the
form of positive social progress is necessary. Conservatives by nature and
definition resist such change. Therefore, they suck because they oppose
progress. And the current incarnation of the Republican Party has a strong
fascist streak. The invasion of Iraq on false premises was no accident.
This is how alpha males like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Rick
Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Bishop Willard Mitt Romney think, and operate. They
are, in a word, fascists, and the direct descendents of Genghis
Khan, Attila the Hun, Napoleon, Hitler and other men who dreamed of ruling the
world through military might.
At various times throughout history, conservatives have used holy wars
(Crusades, etc.), the torture and burning of "heretics" at the stake (Inquisitions), and other abominations to preserve "the divine right of
kings," tyranny, feudalism, slavery, racism, sexism and homophobia. Even today
American conservatives strive to deny non-heterosexuals their self-evident equal
rights. Conservatives also seek to deny suffering people the right to euthanasia,
and women the right to choose whether to risk their health, lives, futures and happiness by
becoming mothers against their will. They deny the obvious evidence of global
warming and thus imperil the entire planet. They pretend to know the mind and
will of God, but their false "god" is a Bigot made in their own primitive image:
racist, sexist, chauvinistic, homophobic and intolerant.
In the picture above the USS. Kennedy is launching a missile at Lebanon in 1983.
The picture above is of the Beirut embassy in 1983, after a terrorist attack.
All great social change for the better has been the result of liberal reformers,
not hidebound conservatives. Jesus was a radically liberal reformer who called
the conservatives of his day, the Pharisees, hypocrites. He famously told the
rich young ruler that if he wanted to be considered perfect, he should give all
his money and worldly possessions to the poor, then do what Jesus had done
himself: dedicate his life to compassion and good works. The early Christians
were also liberal reformers who sold all their earthly possessions, gave the
proceeds to the church, and lived together in a commune. You can easily confirm
this by reading the book of Acts, the self-penned history of the early Christian
Thomas Jefferson was a radically liberal reformer who stunned King George
with his declaration that American commoners were equal to kings in the eyes of God
and intelligent men. Before the American Declaration of Independence, most
people assumed that kings and lords were "more equal." After 1776 conservatives
would spend much of their time, money and influence aggressively, often brutally, defending the
rights of kings and lords to protect their "more equal rights"—a battle that
still continues to this day.
George Washington was a liberal reformer who said, "As Mankind becomes more
liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as
worthy members of the community [to be] entitled to the protections of civil
government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and
Abraham Lincoln was a liberal reformer who emancipated American slaves at a
time when the majority of white Americans were firmly convinced that they were
"superior" in every way to people with darker skin.
Mohandas Gandhi was a liberal reformer who showed the world that it was
possible to free an indigenous people from the clutches of a feudal colonizing
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a liberal reformer who created Social Security
and instituted a number of other important social reforms: the "New Deal." He
is generally considered to be one of the three greatest American presidents, along
with Washington and Lincoln.
John F. Kennedy was a liberal reformer who said, "If by a Liberal they mean
someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without
rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their
health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their
civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and
suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a
Liberal, then I'm proud to say I'm a Liberal."
Bill Clinton, the last American president to preside over a healthy economy, was
also a liberal.
Nelson Mandela is a liberal reformer and an icon of peace to an
admiring and thankful world.
Who are the leading lights of radical conservatism? Genghis Khan, Attila the
Hun, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney,
Donald Rumsfeld, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bishop Willard Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Rick
Santorum, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and various other miscreants. The ones
who are not sheer evil are witless boors and bozos.
A fascist is someone who, convinced that race, creed and/or ideology make
him "superior" to other people, consequently believes that he has the "right" to impose his will
on them, ignoring their self-evident rights to life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness. One might even suggest that the majority of Americans are
fascists, because they believe the US has the "right" to possess nuclear weapons
and use drones to kill people in the Middle East, but they do not believe that people in the Middle
East have the right to possess nuclear weapons or use drones to kill
people in the US. If the US uses drones to kill Muslims, that is "self defense,"
but if Muslims use weapons to defend themselves from the wild injustices of the
US and Israel, that is "terrorism." This is how fascists "think" in a sort of
jingoistic knee-jerk reflex ...
Why did the unholy trinity of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald
Rumsfeld use 9-11 as an excuse to invade Iraq, the way Hitler used similar
excuses to invade Poland? Because like Hitler they are fascists intent on
bullying, dominating, invading
and conquering "inferior" nations, even when those nations have done nothing
Americans haven't done themselves (such as developing WMDs).
Why does Sarah Palin speak calmly, if moronically, of "supporting Israel" by
bombing Iran? Because she's a fascist who considers the "rights" of Israel and
the US — both of which have large numbers of nuclear weapons — to be
superior to those of Iranians. Never mind that the US and Israel have been much
more aggressive militarily than Iran, or that Iran has legitimate reasons to
want stronger defenses, considering what Israel and the US have done to Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Equality and justice mean
nothing to fascists. Palin likes to shoot wolves from helicopters, and she seems
to have similar disdain for Muslim women and children.
The problem for the few thinking Republicans who remain is obvious: the
GOP has been overrun by fascists who now tremendously
influence its policies. Therefore, even conservatives who aren't warmongers and
fascists themselves are, in effect, voting for warmongering and fascism when they vote
Republican. Unless the majority of Republicans come to their senses, which seems
unlikely, to vote for a Republican politician is like casting a vote for a Nazi party
member in Weimar
The stated goals of Tea Party types like Palin are obviously incompatible.
They cannot have more wars against Islam, in an effort to "support Israel," and
smaller government and lower taxes. More wars obviously means a bigger, more
intrusive government, and either more taxes or bigger deficits. Practicing
fascism is always incredibly expensive: just ask Hitler, Mussolini and company.
Washington and Jefferson strongly advised Americans to avoid entanglements
with foreign powers, and military adventurism abroad. When the US
chose to hitch its wagons to those of Israel's fascist regime, headed by
world-class terrorists like Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netan-yahoo, it soon
had to circle those wagons in response to 9-11. Now Americans are being
strip-searched and fondled at airports, because we were stupid enough to fund
and support this new holocaust imposed by Israel on the Palestinians: the Nakba
(Arabic for "catastrophe").
Americans opposed Hitler and the Holocaust. Perhaps the most shining moment
in our history came at the end of World War II, when we offered the defeated
Axis powers the Marshall Plan, a liberal New Deal that helped them rebuild
their shattered economies and become peaceful, peace-loving democracies. But at
virtually the same time, due to Jewish and Christian fascism, we
offered Arab nations the Martial Plan. Their women and children were beneath our
contempt. Americans closed their eyes and ears to the suffering of Palestinians,
preferring to "believe the Bible" when it said God had given the land of
Palestine to the ancient Hebrews, when in fact the Bible clearly says the Hebrew
tribes took the land the old-fashioned, barbaric way: via ethnic cleansing and
genocide, the "slaying of everything that breathes."
But fascists are not interested in historical or scientific truths. They
know the "truth" and constantly trumpet it: they, the fascists, are obviously
superior to everyone else, and as long as they have military superiority they will gladly use it to impose their will on their inferiors.
If completely innocent women and children die as a result, that's unfortunate, if
they bother to think about it, but
an "acceptable" price. Fascists call the deaths and mutilations of innocents "collateral damage." If however, their own women and children
suffer or die unjustly, they are the victims of "hatred" and "terrorism."
This has obviously become the mindset and modus operandi of American
fascists, who euphemistically call themselves "conservatives." Ronald Reagan was
one of the wiser ones, as he knew better — perhaps intuitively — than to
engage in large-scale ground wars on foreign soil. Unfortunately, the current
leading lights of the Republican party are far from wise. What have they learned
from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq? Nothing. They will continue to "support" the
Israeli Injustice Machine, which cynically uses the "faith" (blind, unreasoning
faith) of American Christians to steal land and water from Palestinians at the
expense of American taxpayers and their children's lives. This blind,
irrational, unthinking support of Israel will almost undoubtedly lead to World
War III, and perhaps to a nuclear Armageddon.
Thus, the legacy of American conservatism and fascism will in all likelihood be
that of Nazi conservatism and fascism — infamy, and the destruction of a
potentially great nation — unless Americans choose to open their
eyes, unstop their ears, and finally understand and accept that all human beings
(not just Jews and Americans) are created equal, with the same self-evident
rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
King George never "got" it. Hitler and Mussolini didn't "get" it either. Nor
have fascists like the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush
and today, Benjamin Netanyahu and Bishop Romney.
And, to tell the truth, neither did Thomas Jefferson. He raised his
children by Sally Hemmings as slaves in his own house, and only freed them via
his will, after his death. And they were the only slaves he freed, as if his
white blood made them somehow better than his other slaves.
George Washington also continued to own slaves during his life; they were
only freed after his death.
Even Abraham Lincoln considered it impossible for whites and blacks
to live together in peace, and concocted plans to send the emancipated slaves back to
Africa, or to Central America.
The creators of those "great" faiths based on the Bible
— Judaism and Christianity — were no better.
Jehovah was a racist, sexist, homophobic, intolerant
bigot. The Hebrew prophets, Jesus Christ, Paul and the
other apostles never said a word against slavery. Nowhere in the Bible was slavery
ever called an
abomination. As much as American conservatives claim that the Bible
is an oracle of divine wisdom, it obviously isn't. Biblical "justice" includes
such nuggets of wisdom as murdering girls for the "crime" of having been raped
(Deuteronomy 22), fathers selling their own daughters into sex slavery with the
option to buy them back for not "pleasing" their new masters (Exodus
21), and "men of God" like Moses slaughtering captured women and children
Should Americans enshrine the Ten Commandments in courthouses, or deny
homosexuals the right to marry, because of the "wisdom" of ancient nomadic
goatherds who enslaved and stoned women and children in the "name of God"?
Is the "American way" so vastly superior to the ways of other people that we
can blow completely innocent women and children to smithereens in the vain
attempt to "democratize" their countries, when most Americans are far from
pleased with our own system of government?
Does it make any sense whatsoever to export American-style democracy to
other countries, when we have little or no confidence in our own government?
Does it make any sense whatsoever to become just another fascist nation,
based on the creed that Americans are superior "just because," when we obviously
Ronald Reagan had the good sense to establish a strong military and use it
to defend the rights of Americans. He didn't use our military to secure foreign
oilfields or to attempt to "democratize" other nations. But he did make a
strategic mistake: one with terrible consequences. In the unfathomable American
quest to support Israel, he ordered the U.S. Sixth Fleet to shell Lebanon.
American fascism has extolled a great price: 9-11 and two completely
unnecessary, fruitless, unwinnable was. Hitler and his Nazi goons remained
convinced until the better end that Germans were "superior" and "invincible."
American conservatives remain convinced, despite all the evidence to the
contrary, that the United States is "superior" to other nations. Why? "Just
because." It doesn't matter what Americans say or do; all that matters is that
Americans are Americans, and other people aren't. Who cares how many completely
innocent Muslim women and children Israeli Jews and Americans kill, since Jews
and Americans are so obviously "superior"?
Of course they must never consider the possibility that, like they Nazis,
their "superiority" is completely illusory. Were Hitler and Mengele "superior"
to Jews, really? Are George W. Bush, Bishop Romney and Sarah Palin superior to Muslims, really?
Here in the South, where I live, we have a saying: "The proof is in the
The questions are, of course, rhetorical.
Related pages: American Fascism,
Let Freedom Sing, The
Nakba: The Holocaust of the Palestinians